February 02, 2024

José Domínguez Carbajo, El Recreo / The recreation

this image and the next two from Google Streetview

Roales, a community with some 900 inhabitants (2018), is located on a pilgrimage route to Santiago del Compostela. From this town it is about a 350 km walk in a north-westerly direction to reach that destination.

Anyone who enters Roales from the south will soon pass the garden with sculptures as shown above.

the entrance of the garden
Life and works

This garden is a creation of José Dominguez Carbajo (1936-2017), who was born in a commune not far from Roales. After primary school, he went to work for a company that built roads. He married and the couple went to live in Roales. They got a number of children and grandchildren, most of whom live in Roales.

Although Carbajo enjoyed drawing at a young age, artistic pursuits did not materialize until the age of 68, when he was retired. He had a vegetable garden near the southern entrance to Roales and he gradually started to fill it with sculptures.
another view from the street of the garden

Working with cement, which he painted with striking colours, he made a series of sculptures, some of which were life-size.

Starting at the entrance on the south side of the garden, we first see two eagles guarding the entrance on top of columns and then a life-size giraffe, as can be seen in the second photo from the top. 

In addition to the giraffe, there are numerous other animal sculptures, such as a wolf, a deer and the growling three-headed dog Cerberus

this picture from Sophie Lepetit's weblog

Carbajo's  art environment also has some striking sculptures, such as St. James galloping on a white horse in a flowing robe. The image above is a close up of James on horseback and the even higher image shows him riding the horse.

Another striking sculpture in this site is the person with the backpack in the very first image which depicts a walker on the pilgrimage route leading toward Santiago de Compostela. A website of a couple walking the route shows a photo of the art environment, of which they say they passed with a smile.

above two pictures also from Sophie Lepetit's weblog

The two photos above also show a special scene, on the upper one the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden and on the bottom one the serpent that tempted them to eat the apple from the tree of knowledge.

The images from Google Streetview in this post were taken in July 2023. They show that Carbajo's art environment is still in good condition after his death in 2017. This probably thanks to family members living in Roales.

* Article (2014) by Jo Farb Hernandez on the website of SPACES, with a variety of images
* Article June 2017) in Spanish newspaper La Opinion

José Dominguez Carbajo
El Recreo
83 C. Gral. Franco
Roales, dept Zamora, region Castilla y Léon, Spain
site can be seen from the road

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